Reports & Forecasts: July 2017

Lake Calcasieu Louisiana
Jeff and Mary Poe - Big Lake Guide Service - 337.598.3268
Both the weather and the fishing have been hot lately. This is a fantastic time of year to catch a lot of speckled trout. Areas along the Calcasieu Ship Channel with shell humps and some variation in the depth will be the main focus of our efforts at this time of year. Weather permitting, we will slip out to nearshore rigs, jetties and into the surf zone along the beachfront too. For the most part, though, our days will be spent moving up and down and fishing areas adjacent to the cool, deep waters of the Channel. When fishing the Channel, we look for tidal movement. Strong tides are okay to fish, but oftentimes the bite window will be shorter than on a normal tide, with less strong movement. Bite windows seem to increase in length on normal tides, because the fish aren't having to work so hard to catch their prey. Timing outings to coincide with the cycles of the tides is critical. Paying close attention to the charts allows for putting plenty of fish in the boat and beating the heat.

Trinity Bay - East Bay - Galveston Bay | James Plaag
Silver King Adventures - - 409.935.7242

James plans of fishing open expanses of water in July. “We will be on the reefs in East Bay, and also targeting fish on some of the shallower spoil banks lying along the Galveston Ship Channel. We find that the best bite usually occurs during medium-strong tidal movements, so we generally use fairly heavy jigheads, weighing either quarter or three-eighths ounce. Mostly, we've been throwing the rat-tailed Bass Assassins in red/white and the Sea Shads in the shrimp color. Wading has been pretty good at times lately. We caught 67 fish by nine o'clock in the morning on a recent outing. They were taking bone ShePups mostly, but we did catch some on Bass Assassins too. One customer had 25 on a topwater on his own rod. When winds are relatively light, the fishing is fantastic. Same should be true in July. Light winds allow us to run around looking for slicks. Most of the time, that's how we find the fish. And, we're always watching for flocks of birds hovering low over the water. They lead us to the schools of fish too.”

Jimmy West - Bolivar Guide Service - 409.996.3054
Jim expects to be taking advantage of classic summer patterns once July comes around. “As long as the wind doesn't blow too hard, we're catchin' plenty of fish. We've had birds working on a regular basis. Best bite has been early in the mornings. Most days, the bite after nine o'clock gets slower. Since the winds have stopped blowing so hard every day, we're able to target fish out of the boat, around shell reefs and other structures in open water. Most of the trout we're catching are decent fish, lots of two and three pounders, with a few around five pounds or slightly bigger. The beachfront has been producing some really good stringers on topwaters and MirrOlures when winds are light or blowing out of the northwest. That pattern should be available in July too. The percentage of keepers is definitely better out in the surf this time of year. Both soft plastics and topwaters are working well at times when we're drifting around slicks and birds in the bays. The tails work best when the fish are less aggressive in the middle of the day.”

West Galveston - Bastrop - Christmas - Chocolate Bays
Randall Groves - Groves Guide Service
979.849.7019 - 979.864.9323
Fishing has been good in the area around San Luis Pass, Randall reports. “We have been catching pretty good on topwaters in the mornings lately. We've got lots of pogies coming through the Pass right now, and lots of predators are following them in. We're catching several different species of fish on floating plugs, including trout, redfish, skipjacks and jack crevalle. Spook Juniors in natural patterns have been producing the most bites. Of course, we're also catching fish on Norton Sand Eels in colors like red magic. The worms seem to work best under bright sun, when we're targeting our fish in deeper water. July should be a good month for us, especially if the winds allow us to work the surf on a regular basis. I'm looking forward to running the new boat I just picked up. It's a 250X JH Performance powered by a 300 E-TEC outboard. This boat has tons of storage space, rod lockers, and it's super comfortable in choppy seas. It's a real pleasure to be at the helm of such a luxury craft, that's for sure.”

Matagorda | Tommy Countz
Bay Guide Service - 979.863.7553 cell 281.450.4037
As is the case in most months, Tommy mentions several productive patterns available to anglers in Matagorda area. “Once we get into the summer, I like to slow down my presentations somewhat. When I'm wading this month, I spend most of my time in West Bay. I'll watch the tide levels and start off tight to the shoreline if they are higher, throwing topwaters early, soft plastics like Lil' Johns later, usually in dark colors. If tides are running lower, I'll start off on the outer bars, throwing along the edges. Best bite is almost always on moving tides. We use light jigheads and cast around grass beds, working the worms with the current around the edges of the beds. Of course, by the middle of the month, we will head out into the surf every time we get a chance. We've got long expanses of beachfront both north and south of the Colorado River, so it's a real blessing. We target our fish shallow, with topwaters early, soft plastics later When we're drifting, we like East Bay, targeting areas with a mix of mud and shell on the bottom.”

Palacios | Capt. Aaron Wollam - 979.240.8204
Summertime patterns are already producing plenty of fish for us. The trout bite has been excellent over deep shell and well pads out in West Matagorda Bay. Free-lined live shrimp with just a small split-shot have accounted for good numbers of eaters up to nineteen inches. Waders have found a good bite on the grass beds on area shorelines by working shallow early in the day, then working out to the deeper grass beds later in the day, as the water temperatures rise. Redfish have been plentiful on area shorelines , biting live shrimp rigged bout eighteen inches under popping corks. Most of these fish have been situated around points and drains. Good tide movement has been key to catching them. Flounder gigging has been good over grass/sand bottoms when wind allows, with some good fish up to eighteen inches being gigged. Tripletail are slowly working their way into the bays, and we have had a few up to twenty pounds working the structures and floating seaweed patches out in West Matagorda Bay.

Port O'Connor | Lynn Smith
Back Bay Guide Service - 361.983.4434
During the heat wave of July, Lynn expects to be targeting trout and redfish in the Port O'Connor area, fishing flats with deep water close by. “Mainly, we'll stick pretty close to the Pass area, working flats with lots of grass, using topwaters as much as possible. This time of year, we get tide-runner specks coming from the surf and running along the shallow shorelines close to the Gulf. We look for large concentrations of bait, mostly rafted mullet, and throw topwaters with chrome on them, like chrome/blue and the clown color pattern, trying to keep them moving right in the tight schools of bait fish. We also like to fish the spoils along the Port Lavaca Ship Channel some this time of year. We are able to wade around shell humps and reefs on those, casting close to the drop-off into fifty foot depths. When the water gets really hot, staying close to cooler depths can become critical, as is the need for moving water to stir up a bite. Of course, one of the best places to target trout in the shallows with deep water close by is the surf zone.”

Rockport | Blake Muirhead
Gator Trout Guide Service - 361.790.5203 or 361.441.3894
Blake likes a variety of options when fishing the Rockport area in the first full month of summer. “We do catch some trout and redfish wading along grassy, sandy shorelines in the mornings, throwing small topwaters like Super Spook Juniors. If we find good concentrations of fish that way, we can often scratch out some more bites later on Norton Sand Eels. The mid-bay reefs in bays like Aransas, Copano and San Antonio hold lots of fish this month too. If winds are light, we often start off wading the reefs and throwing topwaters. As is the case on the shorelines, we often shift over to Norton Sand Eels later, tossing them into the deeper water close to the reefs. The surf is another great option this month. We've already been out there some, and we're finding lots of trout and redfish too. Calm conditions, light southeast winds or winds out of the west and northwest make the water clear up along the beach, creating conditions favorable for both boating and catching out there. Incoming tides in the morning hours help too.”

Upper Laguna Madre - Baffin Bay - Land Cut
Robert Zapata [email protected] - 361.563.1160
The weather in the month of July is expected to be hot, but so is the fishing. The catching has been great throughout the months of May and June, and I think a big contributing factor for this has been the very good quality of the water in our part of the Laguna Madre. The trout and redfish will be in about eighteen inches of water, along shorelines with scattered pot holes. They will go after natural-colored MirrOlure SheDogs if there is not too much floating grass in the area. They will also go after Bass Assassin Die Dappers in colors like chicken on a chain or plum/chartreuse rigged on a sixteenth-ounce Spring Lock jighead. Free-lined live croakers will be very successful in two to three feet of water along grass lines, pot holes and drop offs early in the mornings. Then the fish will move into a little deeper water, about three to four feet deep, as the days warm. I’ve been very encouraged to see at least one flounder and sometimes up to three being caught on almost every one of my charters using live croakers.

Corpus Christi | Joe Mendez - 361.937.5961
The first complete month of summer ushers in patterns which reflect the high water temperatures. Joe says the catching has been steady in the ULM/Baffin Bay area lately, and he expects good fishing to continue in July. “We've had quite a few heavy rains lately, and the runoff after them makes the water murky for a couple days in a few places, but overall, keeps the salinity level down. The water is incredibly clear over most of the area right now. We're seeing packs of upper-slot reds and some big trout cruising in the shallows along the west shoreline of the Laguna Madre, both south and north of Baffin. They are, of course, easier to see in the middle of the day, under a bright sun overhead, but sometimes easier to catch during low-light conditions, early in the morning. With lots of floating grass in the area, due to prevailing easterly winds and high tide levels, soft plastics work best to target these fish. When the amounts of floating grass get bad enough, rigging the worms on weedless jigheads becomes necessary."

P.I.N.S. Fishing Forecast | Eric Ozolins
The wacky surf year of 2017 continues. The water will be chocolate milk one week and Caribbean-green the next. Sargassum has plagued our beaches the past three months, especially the second half of May. This typically tapers off during early summer. Despite the nuisance to beach fishing, sargassum arrives full of life and fortifies the ecosystem. With summer in full swing, the surf should become calm and clear. Speckled trout should be available at sunrise and sunset on topwaters. They may also bite mid-day, depending on tide movement. Skipjacks will make their rounds, hounding schools of dusky anchovies close to shore. Tarpon will also begin actively working the surf zone. Live mullet will often entice bites. Blacktip action will diminish as they head offshore, following the shrimpers. Meanwhile, tiger sharks move in and will take large baits during the night. Waders are cautioned that stingrays are plentiful in the surf this time of year. A ray of any size can inflict tremendous pain and risk of infection. Shuffle your feet!

Port Mansfield | Ruben Garza 832.385.1431
Getaway Adventures Lodge 956.944.4000
Heading into July, lighter winds in the morning hours will allow opportunity to fish the west shoreline and ICW spoil banks. Topwater action can last all day when conditions are favorable. A bone Heddon Super Spook Junior or One Knocker will usually do the trick. The small SkitterWalk (speckled trout – SW08ST) is another top producer. When topwater action slows, I switch to KWiggler Willow Tails and Ball Tails on light jigheads. Our best color has been Mansfield Margarita, with red shad a strong second. If the seas allow, the jetties should produce king mackerel, jack crevalle and sharks. Look for the big bait balls under pelicans gulls. The CCA Artificial Reef in Texas state water should provide good red snapper fishing. Trolling larger plugs is usually productive for kings at the East Cut Jetty and also around the CCA Reef. At the jetty, keep an eye peeled for rolling tarpon, and a rod or two rigged and ready to pitch a live bait. Even slight to moderate tide movement can trigger tarpon activity at the jetty.

Lower Laguna Madre - South Padre - Port Isabel
Janie and Fred Petty 956.943.2747
We’re beginning to see some calmer conditions with more precipitation and less wind. This combination helps clear up the water and we catch more trout. Recent trips have produced limits of reds and specks, with some nice flounder added into the mix. We’re throwing FP3s with Berkley Gulp! Live three-inch shrimp in pearl and new penny, on eighth-ounce jigheads. Freddy says, “If you cut the pointed end off the Gulp! shrimp, it makes a flat surface to stick the hook into; this way you can screw the lure tight to the jig head, so it won’t split, which will make it last much longer!” This coming month is normally more about trout than reds, due to the heavy boat traffic, high temperatures and light winds, making it hard to get a long, uncontested drift. The good news is that you can fish in deeper water along drop offs and color changes, allowing the traffic to run the fish off the shallow flats toward you. When the winds are down, pot holes and channel edges become more visible targets for drifting. Let’s all help stop open bay dredge disposal!